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Ok so I am running Ubuntu LTS 12, using virtualmin gpl to host several small sites . Mostly everything is set to their defaults during setup , It's runing on a vps with 8gb of ram assigned to it, using mostly wordpress sites so I set the MySql usage to 2gb(the most it would allow) since I have plenty of ram to spare (I have 24gb on the node and only 1 other vps at the moment) . for the last 2 days sometime between 1 and 3pm the sites suddenly get too slow to even access(taking up to 5 minutes or more to load) even on the static pages. However virtualmin itself is running nice and speady, and so is the site running on the other VPS on this node. So it seems just apchache is having this issue at this time. Also running Top does not show any extrodinary use of any resources and according to virtualmin I'm only using 2.8 gb of ram out of my 7.9 availible. The host machine is running centos 6 64bit and using openvz as the virtual enviornment.

Rebooting doesn't fix the problem. What should I check next?

here is my apache config file:

#
# Based upon the NCSA server configuration files originally by Rob McCool.
#
# This is the main Apache server configuration file.  It contains the
# configuration directives that give the server its instructions.
# See http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/ for detailed information about
# the directives.
#
# Do NOT simply read the instructions in here without understanding
# what they do.  They're here only as hints or reminders.  If you are unsure
# consult the online docs. You have been warned.  
#
# The configuration directives are grouped into three basic sections:
#  1. Directives that control the operation of the Apache server process as a
#     whole (the 'global environment').
#  2. Directives that define the parameters of the 'main' or 'default' server,
#     which responds to requests that aren't handled by a virtual host.
#     These directives also provide default values for the settings
#     of all virtual hosts.
#  3. Settings for virtual hosts, which allow Web requests to be sent to
#     different IP addresses or hostnames and have them handled by the
#     same Apache server process.
#
# Configuration and logfile names: If the filenames you specify for many
# of the server's control files begin with "/" (or "drive:/" for Win32), the
# server will use that explicit path.  If the filenames do *not* begin
# with "/", the value of ServerRoot is prepended -- so "foo.log"
# with ServerRoot set to "/etc/apache2" will be interpreted by the
# server as "/etc/apache2/foo.log".
#

### Section 1: Global Environment
#
# The directives in this section affect the overall operation of Apache,
# such as the number of concurrent requests it can handle or where it
# can find its configuration files.
#

#
# ServerRoot: The top of the directory tree under which the server's
# configuration, error, and log files are kept.
#
# NOTE!  If you intend to place this on an NFS (or otherwise network)
# mounted filesystem then please read the LockFile documentation (available
# at <URL:http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/mod/mpm_common.html#lockfile>);
# you will save yourself a lot of trouble.
#
# Do NOT add a slash at the end of the directory path.
#
#ServerRoot "/etc/apache2"

#
# The accept serialization lock file MUST BE STORED ON A LOCAL DISK.
#
LockFile ${APACHE_LOCK_DIR}/accept.lock

#
# PidFile: The file in which the server should record its process
# identification number when it starts.
# This needs to be set in /etc/apache2/envvars
#
PidFile ${APACHE_PID_FILE}

#
# Timeout: The number of seconds before receives and sends time out.
#
Timeout 300

#
# KeepAlive: Whether or not to allow persistent connections (more than
# one request per connection). Set to "Off" to deactivate.
#
KeepAlive On

#
# MaxKeepAliveRequests: The maximum number of requests to allow
# during a persistent connection. Set to 0 to allow an unlimited amount.
# We recommend you leave this number high, for maximum performance.
#
MaxKeepAliveRequests 100

#
# KeepAliveTimeout: Number of seconds to wait for the next request from the
# same client on the same connection.
#
KeepAliveTimeout 5

##
## Server-Pool Size Regulation (MPM specific)
## 

# prefork MPM
# StartServers: number of server processes to start
# MinSpareServers: minimum number of server processes which are kept spare
# MaxSpareServers: maximum number of server processes which are kept spare
# MaxClients: maximum number of server processes allowed to start
# MaxRequestsPerChild: maximum number of requests a server process serves
<IfModule mpm_prefork_module>
StartServers 1
MinSpareServers 1
MaxSpareServers 5
MaxClients        10
</IfModule>

# worker MPM
# StartServers: initial number of server processes to start
# MinSpareThreads: minimum number of worker threads which are kept spare
# MaxSpareThreads: maximum number of worker threads which are kept spare
# ThreadLimit: ThreadsPerChild can be changed to this maximum value during a
#              graceful restart. ThreadLimit can only be changed by stopping
#              and starting Apache.
# ThreadsPerChild: constant number of worker threads in each server process
# MaxClients: maximum number of simultaneous client connections
# MaxRequestsPerChild: maximum number of requests a server process serves
<IfModule mpm_worker_module>
StartServers       1
MinSpareThreads    1
MaxSpareThreads    4
    ThreadLimit          64
    ThreadsPerChild      25
MaxClients        10
    MaxRequestsPerChild   0
</IfModule>

# event MPM
# StartServers: initial number of server processes to start
# MinSpareThreads: minimum number of worker threads which are kept spare
# MaxSpareThreads: maximum number of worker threads which are kept spare
# ThreadsPerChild: constant number of worker threads in each server process
# MaxClients: maximum number of simultaneous client connections
# MaxRequestsPerChild: maximum number of requests a server process serves
<IfModule mpm_event_module>
StartServers       1
MinSpareThreads    1
MaxSpareThreads    4
    ThreadLimit          64
    ThreadsPerChild      25
MaxClients        10
    MaxRequestsPerChild   0
</IfModule>

# These need to be set in /etc/apache2/envvars
User ${APACHE_RUN_USER}
Group ${APACHE_RUN_GROUP}

#
# AccessFileName: The name of the file to look for in each directory
# for additional configuration directives.  See also the AllowOverride
# directive.
#

AccessFileName .htaccess

#
# The following lines prevent .htaccess and .htpasswd files from being 
# viewed by Web clients. 
#
<Files ~ "^\.ht">
    Order allow,deny
    Deny from all
    Satisfy all
</Files>

#
# DefaultType is the default MIME type the server will use for a document
# if it cannot otherwise determine one, such as from filename extensions.
# If your server contains mostly text or HTML documents, "text/plain" is
# a good value.  If most of your content is binary, such as applications
# or images, you may want to use "application/octet-stream" instead to
# keep browsers from trying to display binary files as though they are
# text.
#
# It is also possible to omit any default MIME type and let the
# client's browser guess an appropriate action instead. Typically the
# browser will decide based on the file's extension then. In cases
# where no good assumption can be made, letting the default MIME type
# unset is suggested  instead of forcing the browser to accept
# incorrect  metadata.
#
DefaultType None


#
# HostnameLookups: Log the names of clients or just their IP addresses
# e.g., www.apache.org (on) or 204.62.129.132 (off).
# The default is off because it'd be overall better for the net if people
# had to knowingly turn this feature on, since enabling it means that
# each client request will result in AT LEAST one lookup request to the
# nameserver.
#
HostnameLookups Off

# ErrorLog: The location of the error log file.
# If you do not specify an ErrorLog directive within a <VirtualHost>
# container, error messages relating to that virtual host will be
# logged here.  If you *do* define an error logfile for a <VirtualHost>
# container, that host's errors will be logged there and not here.
#
ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log

#
# LogLevel: Control the number of messages logged to the error_log.
# Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
# alert, emerg.
#
LogLevel warn

# Include module configuration:
Include mods-enabled/*.load
Include mods-enabled/*.conf

# Include all the user configurations:
Include httpd.conf

# Include ports listing
Include ports.conf

#
# The following directives define some format nicknames for use with
# a CustomLog directive (see below).
# If you are behind a reverse proxy, you might want to change %h into %{X-Forwarded-For}i
#
LogFormat "%v:%p %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %O \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\"" vhost_combined
LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %O \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\"" combined
LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %O" common
LogFormat "%{Referer}i -> %U" referer
LogFormat "%{User-agent}i" agent

# Include of directories ignores editors' and dpkg's backup files,
# see README.Debian for details.

# Include generic snippets of statements
Include conf.d/

# Include the virtual host configurations:
Include sites-enabled/
SSLProtocol ALL -SSLv2
SSLCipherSuite ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:AES256-SHA256:AES256-SHA256:RC4:HIGH:MEDIUM:+TLSv1:!MD5:!SSLv2:+SSLv3:!ADH:!aNULL:!eNULL:!NULL:!DH:!ADH:!EDH:!AESGCM
NameVirtualHost 68.64.169.51:80
NameVirtualHost 68.64.169.51:443
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1  
Hi Brad, you don't have enough details. Do you notice traffic peaking at this time? Is there any kind of backup running at this time that may be taking up a ton of I/O but no CPU? Did you make any configuration changes to your httpd.conf, especially any in relation PreFork/MPM –  David Eisen May 7 at 21:15
    
Did not touch httpd.conf , like I said default virtualmin install . No backups are running, I'm not sure how to monitor the I/O, but I can tell you again that I have no bandwidth issues accessing virtualmin on its port at 10000 , everything is nice and fast on that, and on the other sites running on the same server on another vps. There is no throataling of the vps bandwidth either. And even if I restart the vps any site I try takes 5+ minutes to load. I am on a dedicated 100mps connection only 10 hops away from me, so surely there is something amis with apache. –  brad May 7 at 21:37
    
Can you post your httpd.conf ? This may provide some insight. You may not be able to handle the traffic coming in at that time due to incorrect settings for Apache. –  David Eisen May 7 at 21:43
    
@DavidEisen done. –  brad May 7 at 21:56

1 Answer 1

The issue is that you are not allowing many MaxClients. Depending on which one you are using Prefork, Worker, or Event, you must adjust the settings to allow more than 10 MaxClients. When the server has 10 clients, all additional clients must wait. This is not good. This number must be carefully calculated based off your memory usage, as well as your server resources. There are many good guides out there that can teach you how to do this:

http://fuscata.com/kb/set-maxclients-apache-prefork

10 is very very low. Feel free to search for additional answers on Apache tuning. The other numbers should be tuned as well, and the KeepAlive settings. Every server is different, and there is no exact answer to your question. Usually my servers which host Wordpress and have 3.7gb of RAM tend to have between 70-80 max clients.

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